KATOH Projects: Los Angeles Angels Prospects

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Earlier this week, lead prospect analyst Dan Farnsworth published his excellently in-depth prospect list for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In this companion piece, I look at that same LA farm system through the lens of my recently refined KATOH projection system. The Angels have the second worst farm system according to KATOH, edging out only the Marlins.

There’s way more to prospect evaluation than just the stats, so if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read Dan’s piece in addition to this one. KATOH has no idea how hard a pitcher throws, how good a hitter’s bat speed is, or what a player’s makeup is like. So it’s liable to miss big on players whose tools don’t line up with their performances. However, when paired with more scouting-based analyses, KATOH’s objectivity can be useful in identifying talented players who might be overlooked by the industry consensus or highly-touted prospects who might be over-hyped.

Below, I’ve grouped prospects into three groups: those who are forecast for two or more wins through their first six major-league seasons, those who receive a projection between 1.0 and 2.0 WAR though their first six seasons, and then any residual players who received Future Value (FV) grades of 45 or higher from Dan. Note that I generated forecasts only for players who accrued at least 200 plate appearances or batters faced last season. Also note that the projections for players over a relatively small sample are less reliable, especially when those samples came in the low minors.

1. Jefry Marte, 3B (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.1 WAR
Dan’s Grade: Unranked

You know it’s bad when the top prospect was recently DFA’d by his previous team. Previously an unremarkable prospect, Marte experienced a power spike in 2015, which earned him a big league callup with the Tigers. Marte has an intriguing combination of power and contact, but as a corner infielder who turns 25 in June, his upside is limited.

Jefry Marte’s Mahalanobis Comps
Rank Name Proj. WAR Actual WAR
1 Aaron Boone 1.4 11.5
2 Ken Harvey 0.7 0.0
3 Scott Spiezio 1.6 6.6
4 Brandon Wood (2009) 1.0 0.0
5 Cole Liniak 0.5 0.0
6 Chase Utley 2.2 32.1
7 Joel Guzman 0.8 0.0
8 Garrett Jones 0.6 3.7
9 Mike Hessman 0.7 0.9
10 Henry Rodriguez 1.1 4.7

2. Taylor Ward, C (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.1 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 45+ FV

The Angels took Ward 26th overall last June and he wasted no time beating up on low minors pitching. He clubbed .348/.457/.538 between Rookie Ball and Low-A, and even tossed in six stolen bases. Ward’s numbers were impressive, especially for a catcher, but he was also old for his levels. First round college bats are expected to beat up on Rookie Ball pitching. Next season should be the real test for Ward.

 

3. Tyler Deloach, LHP (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.0 WAR
Dan’s Grade: Unranked

As a 26th round pick, Deloach has never really been viewed as a prospect, but the 6-foot-6 lefty performed at each level. The lone exception was last year, when he posted an ERA over 6 at Triple-A. Though, his 4.87 FIP suggests he was quite unlucky. Mediocre 25-year-olds aren’t the most exciting prospects in the world, but Deloach has height on his side and strikes out over 20% of batters faced.

 

4. Rafael Ortega, OF (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 2.0 WAR
Dan’s Grade: Unranked

You know it’s bad when the #4 prospect signed as a minor league free agent. Originally a Rockies prospect, Ortega debuted in the majors as a 21-year-old in 2012, but hasn’t made it back since. Ortega has minimal power, but he runs well, and gets on base by way of above-average strikeout and walk numbers. Ortega’s exactly the type of player the Angels should be taking chances on. Unfortunately, he’s also the type of player who’s unlikely to make a significant impact. He smells like a fourth outfielder.

1-2 WAR Prospects
Rank Name Position KATOH WAR Dan’s FV
5 Jahmai Jones OF 1.9 45
6 Kyle Kubitza 3B 1.9 45
7 David Fletcher SS 1.9 35+
8 Kaleb Cowart 3B 1.7 40
9 Reynaldo Navarro 2B 1.4 Unranked
10 Jett Bandy C 1.3 Unranked
11 Eduardo Paredes RHP 1.2 Unranked
12 Jaime Barria RHP 1.0 35+

Jahmai Jones wasn’t great in his pro debut, but demonstrated his impressive speed by stealing 16 bases in 40 games. Reynaldo Navarro’s already 26, but hit reasonably well in the high minors each of the last two years. He’s a contender for the Angels second base job. Jett Bandy slashed .291/.347/.466 as a catcher in Triple-A last year, but is nearly 26. Eduardo Paredes was straight up filthy out of the bullpen in A-Ball: 2.06 FIP with a 33% strikeout rate.  He’s untested in the upper levels, but is still just 20.

*****

Joe Gatto, RHP (Profile)

KATOH Projection: 0.3 WAR
Dan’s Grade: 50 FV

It’s very easy to see why KATOH’s down on Gatto. He put up a 4.64 FIP in Rookie Ball, and didn’t even miss bats as evidenced by his 16% strikeout rate. Dan notes that Gatto comes from a cold weather state, which suggests he’s rather early on the development curve. But his performance to date has been extremely underwhelming.

Remaining 45 FV Prospects
Player KATOH WAR Dan’s Grade
Kyle Mcgowin 0.8 45
Victor Alcantara 0.5 45
Chad Hinshaw 0.1 45
Brendon Sanger 0.1 45+

Kyle Mcgowin was decent enough in Double-A last year, but gets dinged for already being 24. Victor Alcantara’s stuff suggests he’s a future reliever, but he was terrible as a starter in High-A last year. Chad Hinshaw is already 25, struggles to make contact and has minimal power. KATOH’s not really buying the .400 BABIPs. Brendon Sanger had a strong pro debut, but was old for his level, even for a college draftee. He also raked in college and graded out well according to my attempt at projecting college players. I’m eager to see what he’ll do in full-season ball.

We hoped you liked reading KATOH Projects: Los Angeles Angels Prospects by Chris Mitchell!

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Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. He's also on the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell None of the views expressed in his articles reflect those of his daytime employer.

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tz
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Wow, only 10 WAR for the Angels’ system. That’s on the low side of the 10-15 WAR estimate I made yesterday.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/evaluating-the-2016-prospects-los-angeles-angels/#comment-5102830